Is India doomed to become a specialized manufacturing country?

There is a very young population in need of education. In 2011, a census revealed that there were 264 million people between 15 and 34 years old (productive age) in India, whereas 67.6% belong to the rural sector and the rest to the urban.

However, since 2010 the level of education has plateaued, which implies a huge problem because individuals are entering directly into the work force. This creates a time bomb for India because it dooms it to become a specialized manufacturing country. The solution relies on educating this young generation.

Auroville Institute of Applied Technology (AIAT) is a private organization that seeks to contribute into poverty eradication through vocational education and self-empowerment of students. They primarily focus on attracting students from rural areas. These students tend to share similar backgrounds such as disadvantaged family (below the poverty line), academically weak, socially challenging background (caste system) and lack of motivation/enthusiasm.

The Institute has to deal with the families and government (needs to adapt to constant regulations) and institutions to demonstrate the importance of vocational training. AIAT trains their students through Project Oriented Learning in order to increase their abilities in problem solving, seeks to motivate them, invites them to engage with their culture and make them aware of the social issues such as health, environment and society.

The anticipated outcome? Qualified workers and responsible citizens. The results are indeed very positive; 80 percent of those who completed the program get a job and another percent choose further education.

However, it is not easy. AIAT is in need of strategies for extra fund raising in order to manage to train more students. Those below the poverty line live with less than a dollar per day (68.08 Rupees). The Institute fees are 20,000 rupees per year. If this is broken down, an individual below the poverty line lives with 24,849.2 rupees per year. It is evident that it is impossible for the students to enroll by their own means. AIAT is not willing to give up, however they are constantly at the end of a cliff because they do not receive any financial support from the government and they depend on donations. The institution has a capacity of 400 students, yet there are only 100 enrolled currently.

Marcos Lopez Manrique

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